Nearness: Art and Education after COVID-19


by Marlies De Muck and Pascal Gielen 

Art, pedagogy and the destruction of experience under lockdown: how culture defines the difference between surviving the pandemic and thriving beyond it.

The Covid-19 crisis has taught us how invaluable human presence is, not least in terms of the arts and pedagogy; ultimately, neither art nor education can do without physical proximity. Like works of art, people lose what one might call their auras, when kept at digital arm’s length; few would deny that the pandemic has negatively affected our ability to read bodily cues and non-linguistic signals, and art likewise is lifeless when it cannot engage with the proprioception of bodies.

In Nearness, philosopher Marlies De Munck and sociologist Pascal Gielen diagnose this new reality with which we are all contending, arguing that it is culture that defines the difference between surviving and living, that offers a model for thriving rather than merely persisting.

Paperback | 64 pages | Valiz | 2020